By Marisa Kakoulas
Photography by JJ Ignotz
At Brooklyn’s Tattoo Culture Studio and Art Gallery, on December 10th, as a throng of tattooed masses spilled out onto the sidewalk, the chatter could be heard from down the block. The excitement was over the exhibition inside: an art show described as “historically important” by veteran tattooist Juli Moon, for its celebration of women tattoo artists as fine artists.
The “Ladies, Ladies!” Art Show, curated by Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev (aka Miss Elvia) and Emma Griffiths, featured works from over fifty female tattooists, including those who have been tattooing for over thirty years like Madame Vyvyn Lazonga, Pat Sinatra, Debbie Lenz and Juli Moon. And these modern godmothers of tattoo were all in attendance at the opening. “Having Vyvyn, Pat, Juli and Debbie all come to the opening was just magic, as they are heroes of mine and their longevity and commitment to tattooing means so much,” said Griffiths. The crowd flocked around these legends, particularly upcoming artists who were hungry for advice or a good story. Even Juli herself expressed reverence for her fellow groundbreaker: “When I started tattooing over thirty-three years ago, there weren’t that many women. Vyvyn Lazonga was my hero, and I’m so happy she’s here!” She added, “I think it’s important for the world to know that, yes, we are artists. We not only tattoo but we do all different types of art.” Indeed, a variety of artistic media were on view, from oil paintings to photographs to drawings to mixed media.
Read the entire article in the July issue of Skin&Ink. On sale now.